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5 Apr 2017

Belarus’ Grodno Oblast, Lithuania outline joint projects in tourism, alternative energy

GRODNO, 6 April (BelTA) – Grodno Oblast of Belarus and Lithuania have outlined joint projects in tourism, alternative energy and investments. The matters were discussed by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Lithuania to Belarus Andrius Pulokas and Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Kravtsov on 5 April, BelTA has learned.

According to Andrius Pulokas, the parties need to use more actively the tourist potential of Grodno Oblast and that of the Belarusian-Lithuanian border zone. “The visa-free travel to Grodno brings benefits to the surrounding area. Some aspects of the visa-free rules were great news for us. This area should be further developed,” noted Andrius Pulokas. He stressed that not only the Augustow Canal or the joint use of the Neman is promising. Grodno is a city with the common history and it can be interesting to every Lithuanian.

“Up to 1,000 tourists make use of the opportunity to visit our region visa free at weekends. 60% of them are Lithuanians. We continue developing this area,” Vladimir Kravtsov said. In his words, there are plans to open the Grodno tourist information center in Lithuania’s Birstonas. Perhaps, another center will be opened in Vilnius. A center to provide information about the tourist potential of Lithuania will appear in Grodno. The parties also discussed possible ways to jointly develop the Michal Kleofas Oginski estate in Zalesye, Smorgon District. Among possible cultural projects is a meeting of Lithuanian communities from Belarus, Poland, Russia, and other states, which is to take place in Grodno.

Cross-border cooperation has been established between Grodno Oblast and the Lithuanian regions. More than 100 joint projects were presented at the Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus competition program. A part of them pertain to the joint use of the Neman and the development of international navigation.

“As for the economic area, there are more than 120 companies with the Lithuanian capital in Grodno Oblast. This cooperation is gaining pace,” Vladimir Kravtsov said. In particular, Lithuania’s ARVI Group of Companies commissioned a turkey processing plant near Lida in early 2017. It has also implemented a number of other large-scale projects in the region. New areas of cooperation are currently considered.

Cooperation in the field of alternative energy looks promising as well. Grodno Oblast is implementing several solar and wind energy projects at present. This theme will be one of the issues to top the agenda of the Belarusian-Lithuanian economic forum in Kaunas in May 2017.

The meeting also highlighted logistics matters, including further development of the Kamenny Log checkpoint at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. According to Andrius Pulokas, Lithuania is working on the matter.

He also noted that there are plans to start the construction of a new building for the Lithuanian consulate in Grodno in 2017. The land plot allocated for the project in Grodno downtown has been idle for nearly eight years. The Ambassador said that necessary funds have already been earmarked and the designing works are underway.

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